"60 Minutes"
Iranian President on "60 Minutes" Sunday
Fri Aug 11, 2006 17:32

Subject: Iranian President on "60 Minutes" Sunday

NEW YORK - Twenty-seven years after a chilling
sit-down with Ayatollah Khomeini that was one of Mike
Wallace's most memorable, the CBS newsman snagged an
interview this week with current Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran.

The 88-year-old Wallace had been pursuing the
interview for so long that he had to be reminded by
Ahmadinejad when he first asked for it.

A portion of Wallace's interview, conducted Tuesday at
a crucial time in the Mideast with Israel fighting the
Iran-backed Hezbollah, will be shown Thursday on the
"CBS Evening News." A fuller report will air on
Sunday's "60 Minutes."

In the interview, Ahmadinejad said of the Bush
administration, "see how they talk down to my nation."

During the midst of the American hostage crisis in
1979, Wallace interviewed Iranian leader Khomeini,
locking eyes with the cleric when he asked for a
response to Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat calling
Khomeini a lunatic.

Of Ahmadinejad, Wallace said, "He's an impressive
fellow, this guy. He really is. He's obviously smart
as hell."

Wallace said he was surprised to find that the Iranian
president was still a college professor who taught a
graduate-level course.

"You'll find him an interesting man," he said. "I
expected more of a firebrand. I don't think he has the
slightest doubt about how he feels ... about the
American administration and the Zionist state. He
comes across as more rational than I had expected."

Wallace said he and producers Bob Anderson and Casey
Morgan had been seeking the interview for more than a
year, since he sat next to Ahmadinejad at a United
Nations breakfast and told the Iranian leader that
he'd like to come to Iran to talk to him someday.
Wallace admitted he had forgotten about that encounter
until the Iranian president brought it up.

Summoned to Iran for the interview, Wallace and his
team waited for nearly a week until he was brought in
to speak to Ahmadinejad.

Tehran in August isn't Wallace's usual haunt; that's
when you'll usually find him in Martha's Vineyard.
It's also no way to spend retirement. CBS News
announced in the spring that Wallace had retired as a
regular "60 Minutes" correspondent, although he would
still be available for special interviews.

Wallace said he nearly fell out of his chair when
Ahmadinejad told him, "I hear this is your last

Wallace said he replied: "What do you think? Is it a
good idea to retire?"

He said the Iranian president told him it was
important to keep doing interesting things. And
Wallace is already thinking about



Iran's Pres. On Bush, Nukes
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad spoke to Mike Wallace about his views on the Bush administration and reports that Iran has thousands of potential suicide bombers who could strike the U.S.

(CBS) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sat down with Mike Wallace in Tehran on Tuesday in a rare, exclusive interview with a Western reporter.

In the wide-ranging interview, the Iranian leader comments on President Bush's foreign policy, the lack of relations between Iran and the United States, Hezbollah, Lebanon and Iraq.

Speaking about President Bush's failure to answer his 18-page letter that criticized U.S. foreign policy, Ahmadinejad said, "Well, (with the letter) I wanted to open a window towards the light for the president so that he can see that one can look on the world through a different perspective. … We are all free to choose. But please give him this message, sir: Those who refuse to accept an invitation will not have a good ending or fate. You see that his approval rating is dropping every day. Hatred vis--vis the president is increasing every day around the world. For a ruler, this is the worst message that he could receive. Rulers and heads of government at the end of their office must leave the office holding their heads high."

On what the "conducive conditions" would be for Iran to establish relations with the U.S., the president said, "Well, please look at the makeup of the American administration, the behavior of the American administration. See how they talk down to my nation. And this recent resolution passed about the nuclear issue, look at the wording. They have given us — presented us with a package which we are studying right now. We even gave them a date for our response. Ignoring that, they passed a resolution. They want to build an empire. And they don't want to live side-by-side in peace with other nations. The American government, sir, it is very clear to me they have to change their behavior and everything will be resolved. (George W. Bush) believes that his power emanates from his nuclear warhead arsenals. The time of the bomb is in the past, it's behind us. Today is the era of thoughts, dialogue and cultural exchanges."

The report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

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